Mount Holyoke professors Eva Paus and Janice Hudgings recently visited Dubai, where they presented a keynote address at the Women’s Education Worldwide (WEW) faculty conference and attended an MHC alumnae gathering.
The focus of the WEW conference, which was staged January 8–10, was on the use technology for collaboration, said Paus, professor of economics and director of the Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.
In their address, Global Connections through Technology, Paus and Hudgings, professor of physics and associate dean of faculty, discussed their idea of “porous” classrooms. In these settings, faculty and students interact with outside audiences using online video conferencing and translation tools.
“A porous classroom is one where faculty use technology to bring outside expertise or resources into the learning experience, or use technology to share the lesson with outside audiences,” said Paus. “The goal is to enrich learning outcomes by expanding the reach of the classroom in real time.”
One outcome of the conference will be a website that will be used by WEW members to identify and contact potential collaborators at other WEW institutions.
“A challenge is for faculty and administrators to find the right people to connect with,” said Paus. “The new website should help educators share their projects and identify those people with whom they’d like to work.”
While in Dubai, Hudgings and Paus also attended a reception organized by Nancie Fimbel ’68 for a group of Mount Holyoke alumnae and prospective students and their families.
The Women’s Education Worldwide (WEW) initiative was founded by Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges as a way to share best practices, stimulate collaboration among member institutions, and advocate for the advancement of women’s education internationally.
The first WEW conference was cohosted by MHC and Smith in 2004, attracting presidents and academic deans from around the world. In 2008, WEW hosted its first Student Leadership Conference at Mount Holyoke, and in 2011 Mount Holyoke and Smith organized the first WEW conference for faculty.